Sunday, July 20, 2008

Television lost: The Lost Room

Recently I watched another interesting tv production of the blink-and-you-miss-it variety.

The Lost Room is a mini-series, again with a science fiction basis.

The premise, in a nutshell, revolves around a motel room and a set of objects from therein with unusual properties, prime of which is the key.

The protagonist is fending off several different groups with an interest in the objects, while trying to rescue his daughter from the room.

Central to the whole history is a mysterious temporal Event that affected the room, the objects, and potentially the whole space-time continuum.

The central tenet is unusual, the plot and characters are engaging, and it's not without its humour, especially whenever someone gets whacked with a bus ticket.

The mechanics behind the phenomena are not ultimately explained to satisfaction, but it's enough to go along for the ride as the plot gets more and more engrossing.

The full story is structured over the course of six tv hours - which normally corresponds to about six times 42 minutes in real time. The Lost Room demonstrates several advantages a mini-series has over standard tv drama. Not only is there a well-developed story which travels to a defined conclusion; moreover, it is not subject to relatively sudden termination by a tv network that loses interest. Although such cancellation can fuel the mythos and fandom behind the work - as with Journeyman, but more especially with Firefly - the brevity of the experience and abruptness of ending can leave a sour tinge of dissatisfaction. With the networks in particular.

The Lost Room was obviously designed to be self-contained, yet in its ending it fudged its future in deliberately leaving a door ajar for a second series. Perhaps if it happened, some of the dangling reasoning would be better resolved, but despite some spurious indications on the web, this 2006 series is just not going to return, .

Although Firefly leads the pantheon of sweet and brief sci-fi tv experiences (and its reputation will assuredly linger), The Lost Room is most definitely worth seeking out.

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